Interview: Veronica Belmont – Media Maker
It’s extremely difficult to articulate who Veronica Belmont is. So, I’m just going straight to the basics: Veronica is a technology and gaming-centric video host. Her projects currently include Tekzilla, a weekly tech help and how-to show on Revision3.com, and The Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast and community, co-hosted with Tom Merritt. She has also written for Slate, DoubleX, MaximumPC and PC Gamer, and was the original host of Qore on the PlayStation Network.
Veronica made her mark as a producer and on-air talent for CNET Networks (now CBS Interactive). She worked on such shows as Buzz Out Loud, MP3 Insider, Crave, and Prizefight. In 2007 she left CNET to host the eclectic video show Mahalo Daily, which was named one of the top new podcasts in 2008 on iTunes.
An avid gamer and social-networking fanatic (with over 1.5 million Twitter followers), Veronica often speaks about her interests at conferences and panels. She has also been the emcee at events for companies such as gdgt, Boxee, MacHeist and RiffTrax, and advises for companies such as About.me, gdgt, Goodreads, Soundtracking, WeGame, and others.
Who is Veronica Belmont?
You gave the the easiest/hardest question first! I’m a 29-year-old online video host that lives in San Francisco. I enjoy video games and long walks on the beach. Just kidding, the beach is cold here.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I wanted to be a lot of things, as kids tend to do: the usual stuff, like a marine biologist or a teacher. I went through a phase when I was in 5th grade where I really liked long division, and so I wanted to be a mathematician. I went to college for audio engineering, because I always loved music and sound, so I thought I should do sound recording and studio production as my grown-up career.
How did you get where you are today?
I applied to be an audio intern at CNET, and got the job. That progressed into producing Buzz Out Loud, CNET’s first podcast. Eventually I starting speaking on air, and they made me the third co-host. That lead to shooting some videos for CNET TV, which I ended up doing for two years!
You’re involved with a lot of different things and are essentially an expert on: branding, technology, marketing, advertising, social media, gaming… But which of those things do you love the most?
Does anyone really love branding? Of the things you mentioned, I definitely love gaming, technology and social media. But, I also love being outside, drinking coffee and reading in bed at night. I’m passionate about my work, which is something I feel really fortunate about.
What do you do on a daily basis?
Depends on what kind of day it is! If it’s a shooting day, I usually spend the day working on scripts and getting ready. Other days I’m all over the place: working on my blog, catching up on feeds and emails, working on various other projects, etc. Sometimes I get lost for a few hours online and don’t even really remember what the heck I was doing.
What is your favorite color?
Which bear is best?
I’m partial to black bears, because I did a big report on them in 4th grade.
What is something you had to learn the hard way?
Do not respond to trolls on the Internet! I’m still learning that one.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I have no idea, really! Everything has taken such an unexpected turn that I don’t have any real expectations. If I’m not still doing video, I wouldn’t mind working at a game company as a community manager or something.
What’s the best advice you could give to someone coming out of college?
If you can’t find a job in your field right off the bat, try to do something in your spare time that’s related. If you’re a film major and you’re working retail to make ends meet, keep making videos in your spare time! You’ll be surprised at what opportunities can present themselves.
Three of your favorite movies:
The Princess Bride
The Boondock Saints
What is one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
I swear a lot when I’m not on camera. Not very ladylike, I know. Maybe I spend too much time in online multiplayer games!
Who are some of your influences?
I admire a ton of people! Tom Merritt and Molly Wood (of CNET) are two of my favorite people, and they really helped me learn the ropes. My boyfriend Ryan Block is one of the smartest and most hard-working people I know, plus he puts up with me. For video people I don’t actually know but whose work I really admire, I’d have to list Cat Deeley, Mike Rowe and Anthony Bourdain. They’re such natural on-air talents, you never feel like they’re reading from a script or teleprompter.
How do you define success?
Being happy with your place in the world.
Words to live by:
Alea iacta est! Latin for “the die has been cast.” It’s my World of Warcraft guild’s name, but also good words to live by. I choose to interpret it as you have to live with the choices you make; there aren’t any re-rolls in life.
photo credit: www.abbywilcoxphoto.com
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